Lori Vallow Daybell's Attorney Won't Say Whether He Intends To Use Her Mental Health In Her Defense
Lori Vallow Daybell is currently being held on $1 million bond at an Idaho jail, facing two counts of felony desertion in the disappearance of her children Joshua "JJ" Vallow and Tylee Ryan.
The attorney for Lori Vallow Daybell, the mother of two missing Idaho children, declined to disclose whether he "intends to raise any issue of mental condition" while defending her, claiming the prosecutor's "request violates [Lori's] Constitutional rights," according to a new court document filed in the case.
Madison County Prosecuting Attorney Rob Wood gave Lori's attorney, Mark Means, until June 1 to tell the state whether he would bring up Lori's mental health, as well as any experts he would use to make his point. In his response to the state's request for discovery, Means wrote that Lori objected to the request but would comply "in the event determination is made that said section is applicable to this case" as required under Idaho law.
Means did not respond to InsideEdition.com's request for comment.
Lori's children, Joshua "JJ" Vallow, 8, and Tylee Ryan, 17, haven't been seen since September and Lori is currently being held on $1 million bond at an Idaho jail, facing two counts of felony desertion, as well as misdemeanor charges of resisting and obstructing an officer, solicitation of a crime and contempt, according to the Madison County, Idaho, prosecutor's office. Lori has pleaded not guilty and denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
Lori's mental health has been discussed in the case after police body cam footage from 2019 showed her late husband, Charles Vallow, telling police Lori had "lost her reality" and expressing his concern about whether she would harm their children.
"I don’t know what she’s going to do with them. I don’t know if she is going to flee with them, if she’s going to hurt them," Charles said in the footage in response to a police officer's question about whether Lori poses a threat to JJ and Tylee.
In the Jan. 31, 2019 footage released by the Gilbert Police Department in Arizona, Charles told police he filed a petition for an emergency mental health evaluation for Lori, and one of the officers said he had brought the petition with him, but couldn't serve Lori with it because she was not home.
Charles also told police Lori had threatened to kill him. The footage was first obtained by ABC News through a Freedom of Information Act request.
"I can't get in touch with my kids," Charles told police at the time, adding that he had tried for two days to reach them. "But [Lori's] lost her mind. I don’t know how to say it, we’re LDS [Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints], she thinks she’s a resurrected being and a god and member of the 144,000, Jesus is coming next year, she took all of our money out of the bank account today."
According to a police report obtained by FOX 10 Phoenix, after Lori spoke to Gilbert Police officers the next day, police ultimately determined that Lori should be allowed to go and speak with the mental health facility staff voluntarily. The report said an officer confirmed that she had checked herself in there and been discharged "a few hours later."
Months later, on July 11, Charles was shot and killed by Lori's brother, Alex Cox, while he was picking up JJ. Cox claimed he fired in self-defense and wasn't charged in the incident.
Lori's alleged religious beliefs have also been widely discussed in the case, most recently by Melanie Gibb, a woman who was once Lori's close friend and shared her and her fifth husband, Chad Daybell's, end-times religious beliefs. Those beliefs include the existence of past lives, Gibb told EastIdahoNews.com, and that Chad and Lori have a special role to play in the end of the world.
"They did believe they were the head of the 144,000," Gibb said in the interview, referring to a Bible passage from the book of Revelations about a group of people chosen by God. "They believed that that was what their assignment was."
Lori's beliefs also include the existence of "translated beings" who "may, with the Lord's permission, teleport," as well as "zombies" and people who have been possessed by a "demon," "disembodied spirit" or a "worm/slug," according to a summary of information given to law enforcement written by Lori's husband's niece.
In her interview with EastIdahoNews.com, Gibb recounted how Lori had told her she believed JJ had become a zombie. Gibb said she stayed in Lori's home in Rexburg, Idaho, from Sept. 19 to Sept. 23, a crucial period of time that is after investigators say Tylee was last seen at Yellowstone National Park and before JJ was last seen at his elementary school.
"As I arrived on the Thursday, [Lori] had said that [JJ] had turned into a zombie the day before I got there," Gibb said. "And she was pointing out behaviors of his like, 'Look how he's doing this, that's unusual. Or, 'Look how he's doing that.' She was trying to create uncertainty in me about what I saw [in] his behavior."
Gibb said she thinks it was Chad who told Lori that her son had become "a zombie." But Gibb said during her visit, she wasn't worried about JJ's safety and said Lori had told her JJ was going to stay with his paternal grandmother, Kay Woodcock. Chad has not been criminally charged and denies all allegations of wrongdoing.
"[Lori] goes, 'Well, I need to, it's time for JJ to, I don't know how she worded it, but it was something to the effect, 'It's time for, he's in the way of our mission, so we need to send him to Kay's house,'" Gibb said.
But JJ didn't go to stay with his grandparents, Kay and Larry Woodcock, who ultimately asked police to perform a welfare check on JJ after they hadn't heard from the boy. More than seven months later, the FBI's multi-state investigation into JJ and Tylee's whereabouts continues. Police have repeatedly said Lori knows where the children are or what happened to them but has refused to tell authorities. Lori is due to appear in court on July 9 and 10 for a preliminary hearing.
The Rexburg Police Department asks anyone with information regarding JJ and Tylee's whereabouts or welfare to contact the department at 1-208-359-3000 or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) at 1-800-THE-LOST.
JJ has brown hair and brown eyes, is 4 feet tall and weighs 50 pounds. He has autism and "may be in need of medical attention," according to authorities. Tylee has blonde hair and blue eyes, is 5 feet tall and weighs 160 pounds.
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